Review: Rayman Origins

When I first heard about Rayman Origins, I heard it was going to be a downloadable game. I thought “yeah, I’d download a 2D Rayman platformer on PSN.” Then I saw the art style and thought “I would pay any amount of money for this game.” Turns out, I had to, and I couldn’t be any happier about it.

Rayman Origins has some kind of underlying story about a witch who’s mad at Rayman and his friends, but that really doesn’t matter at all for the enjoyment of Rayman Origins, so I’m just going to cut that out of the equation for reviewing Rayman Origins. What matters is a beautiful art style and incredibly tight gameplay, and Origins has both.

Any platformer can have great controls, but if the levels suck, than it doesn’t matter. Luckily, Michel Ancel’s team knew what they were doing while creating the environments of Rayman Origins. Not only are the themes creative (a musical desert and a frozen fruit iceberg!), but the actual platforms are laid out in a way that  when you get it right, you feel like a professional gamer. Unfortunately, this is one of the very few areas in which Origins misses out. In some of the levels, things go so fast and enemies appear out of nowhere in a way that it’s not exactly fair, leaving you frustrated while thinking an explicit word of your choice.

Even though there are a couple of duds in the mix, Rayman Origins has so many levels that it doesn’t really matter. Taking into account the quality of each individual level, the fact that there are at least 60 of them is incredible, giving you hours and hours of fun to experience, while giving you incentive to go back to each level to unlock new characters and levels.

If the levels are laid out well, a platformer can look as simple as N+. Luckily, that’s not an area in which Rayman Origins is lacking. Each hand-drawn frame of animation looks as good as the next beautiful frame, giving the game a smooth, popping, stunning appearance.

Origins gives you beautiful environments to play around in, either alone or with friends

Something that I haven’t really touched on yet is that not only is Origins incredibly fun when you’re playing by yourself, but you can play it with up to 3 of your friends on the couch with you. Unfortunately, they will have to be on the couch, because this game doesn’t support online co-op. I played a little bit of it, and while it was certainly better than the co-op in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, I feel like it could’ve been better, and I would rather play the game solo then with friends, although it’s sure to bring on many laughs, and I would imagine that taking some intoxicating liquids before playing would only improve the laughter.

Not only is the platforming great, but fun shoot-em-up levels mix things up

An interesting feature of Origins that not a lot of people are talking about is that Rayman Origins isn’t all platforming. In each of Rayman’s 10 worlds, there’s one shoot-em-up level in which you ride what’s called a “moskito”, which as the name implies is essentially a rideable (or in Globox’s case, basically a hang glider) mosquito. These levels are kind of like a Gradius for the modern age, and they mix things up between platforming, because no matter how good the platforming is, it can get kind of monotonous at times.

Another thing that mixes up the platforming are the game’s boss levels. Each of the last 5 worlds has a boss at the end,  and their classic telegraphed attacks offer a fun challenge.

Any fun game needs a soundtrack that’s equally as good as the gameplay, and that is CERTAINLY an area in which Rayman excels. When we look back at game music 25 years from now, I can confidently tell you that Rayman: Origins will be one of the games we remember fondly. The music is fun, upbeat, and unique, all of which are qualities of music that we look back on now.

Unique boss battles, such as the fight against this fat bird, add variety to an already great game

Overall, Rayman Origins is a fantastic game, and if you enjoy having fun, it’s something you should pick up. The fact that Ubisoft released this game on the same day as its own Assassin’s Creed: Revelation was an absolutely boneheaded move, as this should definitely be the game that hardcore gamers are playing.

Graphics – 10 – A beautiful hand-drawn art style propels this game above competitors.

Story – N/A It’s like playing Mario for the story; it’s just an excuse to have fun.

Gameplay – 9.5 – It’s like classic Mario, but better.

Sound- 9 While some songs are excellent, some worlds fall a bit short.

Overall – 9.5

Editor’s Note: I can already tell what you’re thinking “Luke, this is your second review, and the second game you’ve given a 9 or above too. You’re just too forgiving!” Well, there’s a reason for that. I only pick up games that I think will be good, because I don’t like to waste my money, and as such, when I review a game that I’ve played extensively, it was probably a fun game. If you want to hear me just tear a terrible game to shreds, just let me know, because I’ll do it. I just don’t know if that’s something you guys might want.

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